US20110281063A1 - Honeycomb core based on carbon fiber paper and articles made from same - Google Patents

Honeycomb core based on carbon fiber paper and articles made from same Download PDF

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US20110281063A1
US20110281063A1 US12944820 US94482010A US2011281063A1 US 20110281063 A1 US20110281063 A1 US 20110281063A1 US 12944820 US12944820 US 12944820 US 94482010 A US94482010 A US 94482010A US 2011281063 A1 US2011281063 A1 US 2011281063A1
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paper
fiber
mm
honeycomb structure
carbon fiber
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US12944820
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Mikhail R. Levit
Dariusz Wlodzimierz Kawka
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E I du Pont de Nemours and Co
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E I du Pont de Nemours and Co
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B3/00Layered products comprising a layer with external or internal discontinuities or unevennesses, or a layer of non-planar form ; Layered products having particular features of form
    • B32B3/10Layered products comprising a layer with external or internal discontinuities or unevennesses, or a layer of non-planar form ; Layered products having particular features of form characterised by a discontinuous layer, i.e. formed of separate pieces of material
    • B32B3/12Layered products comprising a layer with external or internal discontinuities or unevennesses, or a layer of non-planar form ; Layered products having particular features of form characterised by a discontinuous layer, i.e. formed of separate pieces of material characterised by a layer of regularly- arranged cells, e.g. a honeycomb structure
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B15/00Layered products comprising a layer of metal
    • B32B15/04Layered products comprising a layer of metal comprising metal as the main or only constituent of a layer, which is next to another layer of the same or of a different material
    • B32B15/12Layered products comprising a layer of metal comprising metal as the main or only constituent of a layer, which is next to another layer of the same or of a different material of paper or cardboard
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B27/00Layered products comprising a layer of synthetic resin
    • B32B27/04Layered products comprising a layer of synthetic resin as impregnant, bonding, or embedding substance
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B27/00Layered products comprising a layer of synthetic resin
    • B32B27/30Layered products comprising a layer of synthetic resin comprising vinyl (co)polymers; comprising acrylic (co)polymers
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B27/00Layered products comprising a layer of synthetic resin
    • B32B27/38Layered products comprising a layer of synthetic resin comprising epoxy resins
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B27/00Layered products comprising a layer of synthetic resin
    • B32B27/42Layered products comprising a layer of synthetic resin comprising condensation resins of aldehydes, e.g. with phenols, ureas or melamines
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B29/00Layered products comprising a layer of paper or cardboard
    • B32B29/08Corrugated paper or cardboard
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B5/00Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts
    • B32B5/02Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by structural features of a fibrous or filamentary layer
    • B32B5/08Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by structural features of a fibrous or filamentary layer the fibres or filaments of a layer being of different substances, e.g. conjugate fibres, mixture of different fibres
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B5/00Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts
    • B32B5/22Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by the presence of two or more layers which are next to each other and are fibrous, filamentary, formed of particles or foamed
    • B32B5/24Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by the presence of two or more layers which are next to each other and are fibrous, filamentary, formed of particles or foamed one layer being a fibrous or filamentary layer
    • B32B5/26Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by the presence of two or more layers which are next to each other and are fibrous, filamentary, formed of particles or foamed one layer being a fibrous or filamentary layer another layer next to it also being fibrous or filamentary
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B7/00Layered products characterised by the relation between layers, i.e. products comprising layers having different physical properties and products characterised by the interconnection of layers
    • B32B7/04Layered products characterised by the relation between layers, i.e. products comprising layers having different physical properties and products characterised by the interconnection of layers characterised by the connection of layers
    • B32B7/045Layered products characterised by the relation between layers, i.e. products comprising layers having different physical properties and products characterised by the interconnection of layers characterised by the connection of layers the layers being not connected over the whole surface, e.g. discontinuous connection, patterned connection
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B7/00Layered products characterised by the relation between layers, i.e. products comprising layers having different physical properties and products characterised by the interconnection of layers
    • B32B7/04Layered products characterised by the relation between layers, i.e. products comprising layers having different physical properties and products characterised by the interconnection of layers characterised by the connection of layers
    • B32B7/12Layered products characterised by the relation between layers, i.e. products comprising layers having different physical properties and products characterised by the interconnection of layers characterised by the connection of layers using an adhesive, i.e. any interposed material having adhesive or bonding properties
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D21PAPER-MAKING; PRODUCTION OF CELLULOSE
    • D21HPULP COMPOSITIONS; PREPARATION THEREOF NOT COVERED BY SUBCLASSES D21C OR D21D; IMPREGNATING OR COATING OF PAPER; TREATMENT OF FINISHED PAPER NOT COVERED BY CLASS B31 OR SUBCLASS D21G; PAPER NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • D21H13/00Pulp or paper, comprising synthetic cellulose or non-cellulose fibres or web-forming material
    • D21H13/36Inorganic fibres or flakes
    • D21H13/46Non-siliceous fibres, e.g. from metal oxides
    • D21H13/50Carbon fibres
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2250/00Layers arrangement
    • B32B2250/40Symmetrical or sandwich layers, e.g. ABA, ABCBA, ABCCBA
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2260/00Impregnation or embedding of a layer; Bonding a fibrous, filamentary or particulate layer by using a binder
    • B32B2260/02Composition of the impregnated, bonded or embedded layer
    • B32B2260/028Paper layer
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2260/00Impregnation or embedding of a layer; Bonding a fibrous, filamentary or particulate layer by using a binder
    • B32B2260/04Impregnation material
    • B32B2260/046Synthetic resin
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2262/00Composition of fibres which form a fibrous or filamentary layer or are present as additives
    • B32B2262/02Synthetic macromolecular fibres
    • B32B2262/0261Polyamide fibres
    • B32B2262/0269Aromatic polyamide fibres
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2262/00Composition of fibres which form a fibrous or filamentary layer or are present as additives
    • B32B2262/10Inorganic fibres
    • B32B2262/106Carbon fibres, e.g. graphite fibres
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2262/00Composition of fibres which form a fibrous or filamentary layer or are present as additives
    • B32B2262/14Mixture of at least two fibres made of different materials
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2307/00Properties of the layers or laminate
    • B32B2307/50Properties of the layers or laminate having particular mechanical properties
    • B32B2307/54Yield strength; Tensile strength
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2307/00Properties of the layers or laminate
    • B32B2307/70Other properties
    • B32B2307/732Dimensional properties
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T428/00Stock material or miscellaneous articles
    • Y10T428/24Structurally defined web or sheet [e.g., overall dimension, etc.]
    • Y10T428/24149Honeycomb-like

Abstract

This invention relates to a honeycomb core made from paper comprising 20-85 weight percent of carbon fiber floc. The carbon fibers have a non-round cross sectional aspect ratio of at least 1.5:1. The paper has a fiber volume fraction of at least 35%. The arithmetic mean length of the carbon fibers is at least 0.5 mm. and a length weighted mean length of at least 0.9 mm.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • This invention relates to a structural honeycomb core made from a carbon fiber paper.
  • 2. Background to the Invention
  • Core structures for sandwich panels from high performance fibrous materials, mostly in the form of honeycomb, are used in different applications but primarily in the aerospace industry where strength to weight or stiffness to weight ratios have very high values. Aramid fibers have been used for many years as the major component of paper substrates used to make honeycomb. Honeycombs from glass fiber and carbon fiber are also available but only in the form of a woven fabric substrate. Honeycomb production processes from paper substrates are of lower cost than processes for core from fabric substrates and therefore are highly desirable. The use of paper substrates also permit core of smaller cell size and lighter weight to be made. The challenge facing the producers of core from substrates of carbon paper is that carbon fibers are very brittle and are prone to fracturing and breaking during calendering of the paper. This presents significant problems as calendering to increase paper density is a necessary and important part of the process. A high fraction of broken carbon fiber caused by calendering will significantly impact the mechanical performance of the final honeycomb. There is a need therefore for a core structure from a high density calendered paper substrate containing carbon fiber having a minimum fraction of very short broken carbon fibers and, having the majority of carbon fibers of sufficient length to provide the desired properties in the final composite structure. Japanese patent application 6-210777 discloses a honeycomb core that uses a mixture of aramid fibers and carbon fibers as a base sheet for the cell walls.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • This invention is directed to a honeycomb structure comprising a plurality of interconnected walls having surfaces that define a plurality of honeycomb cells, wherein;
      • (i) the cell walls are formed from a paper comprising 20-85 weight percent of carbon fiber,
      • (ii) the paper has a fiber volume fraction of at least 35%,
      • (iii) the carbon fiber has an arithmetic mean length of at least 0.5 mm, and
      • (iv) the carbon fiber has a length weighted mean length of at least 0.9 mm.
  • The terms “fiber volume fraction”, “arithmetic mean length” and “length weighted mean length” have the definitions as set forth under
  • Test Methods.
  • The invention is further directed to a structural sandwich panel comprising a resin impregnated honeycomb core having at least one facesheet attached to both exterior surfaces of the core wherein the cell walls of the core are formed from a paper comprising:
      • (i) 20 to 85 weight percent of carbon fiber,
      • (ii) 7.5 to 50 weight percent of para-aramid fiber, and
      • (iii) 7.5 to 30 weight percent of polymeric binder, wherein
      • (iv) the paper has a fiber volume fraction of at least 35%,
      • (v) the carbon fiber has an arithmetic mean length of at least 0.5 mm, and
      • (vi) the carbon fiber has a length weighted mean length of at least 0.9 mm.
    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIGS. 1 a and 1 b are representations of views of a hexagonal shaped honeycomb.
  • FIG. 2 is a representation of another view of a hexagonal cell shaped honeycomb.
  • FIG. 3 is an illustration of honeycomb provided with facesheets.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • This invention is directed to a honeycomb core comprising a plurality of interconnected walls having surfaces that define a plurality of honeycomb cells, wherein the cell walls are formed from a paper comprising 20-85 weight percent of carbon fibers having a non-circular cross section which, prior to impregnation with a resin, has a fiber volume fraction of at least 35%. The arithmetic mean length of carbon fiber is at least 0.5 mm. and the length weighted mean length at least 0.9 mm.
  • Preferably the carbon fibers have a linear density in the range of from 0.1 to 3.0 denier per filament (dpf) and a fiber cross-section aspect ratio (width to height) of at least 1.5:1. A non-circular carbon fiber cross section coupled with the relatively small fiber linear density provides a paper, after calendering and subsequent transformation into honeycomb, having a low percentage of short or broken carbon fibers. Preferably the arithmetic mean length of the carbon fibers is at least 0.7 mm. Preferably the length weighted mean length of the carbon fibers is at least 1.2 mm. The fiber cross sections, for example, may be dog-bone, bean, oval, ribbon or strip shaped.
  • FIG. 1 a is a plan view illustration of one honeycomb 1 of this invention and shows cells 2 formed by cell walls 3. FIG. 1 b is an elevation view of the honeycomb shown in FIG. 1 a and shows the two exterior surfaces, or faces 4 formed at both ends of the cell walls. The core also has edges 5. FIG. 2 is a three-dimensional view of the honeycomb. Shown is honeycomb 1 having hexagonal cells 2 and cell walls 3. The “T” dimension or the thickness of the honeycomb is shown at 10 in FIG. 2. Hexagonal cells are shown; however, other geometric arrangements are possible with square, over-expanded and flex-core cells being among the most common possible arrangements. Such cell types are well known in the art and reference can be made to Honeycomb Technology by T. Bitzer (Chapman & Hall, publishers, 1997) for additional information on possible geometric cell types.
  • In a further embodiment, the invention is directed to a honeycomb core comprising a plurality of interconnected walls having surfaces that define a plurality of honeycomb cells, wherein the cell walls are formed from a paper comprising 20-85 weight percent of carbon fibers having a non-circular cross section, 7.5-50 weight percent of aramid fiber and 7.5-30 weight percent of polymeric binder that, prior to impregnation with a resin, has, a fiber volume fraction of at least 35%. The arithmetic mean length of carbon fiber is at least 0.5 mm and the length weighted mean length at least 0.9 mm.
  • In yet another preferred embodiment, the paper, prior to the impregnation with a resin, has a machine to cross direction tensile strength ratio no greater than 2.2 in order to maximize properties of the finished honeycomb core.
  • Carbon fiber used in this invention may be in the form of short cut or chopped fiber, also known as floc. Floc is made by cutting continuous filament fibers into short lengths without significant fibrillation. An example of a suitable length range is from 1.5 mm to 20 mm. Carbon fibers suitable for use in this invention can be made from either polyacrylonitrilie (PAN) or pitch precursor using known technological methods, for example as described in: J. B. Donnet and R. C. Bansal. Carbon Fibers, Marcel Dekker, 1984. A non-round carbon fiber cross-section is formed during spinning of the precursor. Preferably the carbon fiber has a modulus of at least 1667 grams per dtex (1500 grams per denier) and a tenacity of at least 28 grams per dtex (25 grams per denier) defined by testing resin-impregnated and consolidated test specimens made from continuous filament yarn or tow.
  • If the carbon fiber floc length is less than 1.5 millimeters, it is generally too short to be processed into the saturable paper structure and provide the final composite with adequate modulus and strength; if the floc length is more than 20 millimeters, it is very difficult to form uniform wet-laid webs. Floc having a linear density less than 0.2 dpf and especially less than 0.1 dpf is difficult to produce with adequate cross sectional uniformity and reproducibility; if the floc linear density is more than 3.0 dpf, it is very difficult to form uniform papers of light to medium basis weights.
  • The surface of the carbon fibers may optionally be oxidized to improve their adhesion to the matrix resin used to coat the paper. Oxidation methods of wet oxidation, dry oxidation, anodic oxidation, and the like are known in the industry and are described in more detail in “Fibre Reinforcements for Composite Materials”, Composite Materials Series, Volume 2, Editor: A. R. Bunsell, Elsevier, 1988”.
  • Aramid fibers used in this invention can be in the form of floc, pulp, or a combination of thereof. As employed herein the term aramid means a polyamide wherein at least 85% of the amide (—CONH—) linkages are attached directly to two aromatic rings. Additives can be used with the aramid. In fact, it has been found that up to as much as 10 percent, by weight, of other polymeric material can be blended with the aramid or that copolymers can be used having as much as 10 percent of other diamine substituted for the diamine of the aramid or as much as 10 percent of other diacid chloride substituted for the diacid chloride of the aramid. The term “pulp”, as used herein, means particles of fibrous material having a stalk and fibrils extending generally therefrom, wherein the stalk is generally columnar and 10 to 50 micrometers in diameter and the fibrils are fine, hair-like members generally attached to the stalk measuring only a fraction of a micrometer or a few micrometers in diameter and 10 to 100 micrometers long. Aramid fiber floc is of a similar length to carbon fiber floc. Both meta and para aramid fibers are suitable and are available from E.I. DuPont de Nemours, Richmond, Va. under the tradenames Kevlar® and Nomex® and from Teijin Twaron, Conyers, Ga. under the tradename Twaron®. In one embodiment, the aramid fiber floc has a non-circular cross section aspect ratio of at least 1.5:1. Further, in a preferred embodiment, the cross-section aspect ratio of all floc fibers in the paper composition is at least 1.5:1.
  • The preferred pulp material is p-aramid. However a blend of p-aramid with other synthetic or natural fibers such as liquid crystal polyester, polyareneazole, meta-aramid, and cellulose can be utilized. One illustrative process for making aramid pulp is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,084,136 to Haines et al.
  • Different thermoset and thermoplastic resins can be used as a polymeric binder in the paper of this invention. These resins can be supplied in the form of fibrids, flakes, powder, and floc. The term “fibrids” as used herein, means a very finely-divided polymer product of small, filmy, essentially two-dimensional, particles known having a length and width of 100 to 1000 micrometers and a thickness of 0.1 to 1 micrometer. Preferable types of binder resins are aramids, polyimides, phenolics, and epoxies. However, other types of the resins can also be used.
  • Fibrids are typically made by streaming a polymer solution into a coagulating bath of liquid that is immiscible with the solvent of the solution. The stream of polymer solution is subjected to strenuous shearing forces and turbulence as the polymer is coagulated. The fibrid material of this invention can be selected from meta or para-aramid or blends thereof. More preferably, the fibrid is a meta-aramid.
  • The paper of the core of this invention can include small amounts of inorganic particles including mica, vermiculite, and the like; the addition of these performance enhancing additives being to impart properties such as improved fire resistance, thermal conductivity, dimensional stability, and the like to the paper and the final core structure.
  • The fiber volume fraction in the paper of this invention is from 35 to 70%. Such a range permits impregnation of the coating resin throughout the thickness of the paper thus providing an optimum paper to coating resin weight distribution ratio in the finished core. Preferably this paper to coating resin weight ratio is in the range from 8:1 to 1:1. The thickness of the paper used in this invention is dependent upon the end use or desired properties of the core structure. In some embodiments, the thickness is from 15 to 125 micrometers (0.6 to 5 mil). More preferably, the thickness is from 25 to 100 micrometers (1 to 4 mil). In some embodiments, the basis weight of the paper is from 10 to 100 grams per square meter (0.3 to 3 ounces per square yard).
  • The paper used to make the honeycomb core of this invention can be formed on equipment of any scale, from laboratory screens to commercial-sized papermaking machinery, including such commonly used machines as Fourdrinier or inclined wire paper machines. A typical process involves making a dispersion of fibrous material such as floc and/or pulp and fibrids in an aqueous liquid, draining the liquid from the dispersion to yield a wet composition and drying the wet paper composition. The dispersion can be made either by dispersing the fibers and then adding the fibrids or by dispersing the fibrids and then adding the fibers. The final dispersion can also be made by combining a dispersion of fibers with a dispersion of the fibrids; the dispersion can optionally include other additives such as inorganic materials. The concentration of fibers from the floc and pulp in the dispersion can range from 0.01 to 1.0 weight percent based on the total weight of the dispersion. An example of a suitable range for polymer binder concentration is that it should be equal to or less than 30 weight percent based on the total weight of solids. In a typical process, the liquid of the dispersion is generally water, but may include various other materials such as pH-adjusting materials, forming aids, surfactants, defoamers and the like. The aqueous liquid is usually drained from the dispersion by conducting the dispersion onto a screen or other perforated support, retaining the dispersed solids and then passing the liquid to yield a wet paper composition. The wet composition, once formed on the support, is usually further dewatered by vacuum or other pressure forces and further dried by evaporating the remaining liquid.
  • In one preferred embodiment, the fiber and the polymer binder in the form of fibrids can be slurried together to form a mix that is converted to paper on a wire screen or belt. Reference is made to U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,698,267 and 4,729,921 to Tokarsky; 5,026,456 to Hesler et al.; 5,223,094 and 5,314,742 to Kirayoglu et al for illustrative processes for forming papers from aramid fibers and aramid fibrids.
  • Once the paper is formed, it has to be calendered to the desired void content/apparent density. An optional final step in the paper manufacturing process can include a surface treatment of the paper to enhance adhesion of the coating resin to the paper. This is carried out in an air, corona or plasma atmosphere. Alternative chemical or thermal surface modifications of the paper may also be appropriate.
  • Processes for converting the web substrates described above into honeycomb core are well known to those skilled in the art and include expansion and corrugation. The expansion process is particularly well suited for making core from paper. Such processes are further detailed on page 721 of the Engineered Materials Handbook, Volume 1—Composites, ASM International, 1988. The paper web can be coated or impregnated with a resin before or after formation of the honeycomb. Resin can be employed which is crosslinked after application to the paper to optimize final properties such as stiffness and strength. Examples of resins include epoxy, phenolic, acrylic, polyimide and mixtures thereof with phenolic being preferred. United States Military Specification MIL-R-9299 C specifies appropriate resin properties. The final mechanical strength of core is result of a combination of several factors. The principal known contributors are paper composition and thickness, cell size, and final core density such as after coating with resin. Cell size is the diameter of an inscribed circle within the cell of a honeycomb core. Typical cell sizes range from 3.2 mm to 6.2 mm (⅛ to ¼ inch) but other sizes are possible. Final core densities are normally in the range of 29-240 kg/m3 (1.8 to 15 lb/ft3).
  • This invention also directed to a structural sandwich panel comprising a resin impregnated honeycomb core having at least one facesheet attached to both exterior surfaces of the core wherein the cell walls of the core are formed from a paper which, prior to impregnation with a resin, comprises from 20 to 85 weight percent of carbon fibers having a non-circular cross section, the paper further having a fiber volume fraction of at last 35%, an arithmetic mean length of carbon fiber of at least 0.5 mm and a length weighted mean length of at least 0.9 mm.
  • FIG. 3 shows a structural sandwich panel 5 assembled from a honeycomb core 6 with facesheets 7 and 8, attached to the two exterior surfaces of the core. The preferred facesheet material is a prepreg, a fibrous sheet impregnated with thermoset or thermoplastic resin, although metallic face sheets may also be utilized. With metallic face sheets, and in some circumstances with prepreg, an adhesive film 9 is also used. Normally there are at least two prepreg facesheets on either side of the core.
  • This invention is further directed to a structural sandwich panel comprising a resin impregnated honeycomb core having at least one facesheet attached to both exterior surfaces of the core wherein the cell walls of the core are formed from a paper which, prior to impregnation with a resin, comprises 20-85 weight percent of carbon fibers having a non-circular cross section, 7.5-50 weight percent of aramid fiber and 7.5-30 weight percent of polymeric binder, the paper further having a volume fraction of fibers of at least 35%. The arithmetic mean length of the carbon fibers is at least 0.5 mm and the length weighted mean length at least 0.9 mm. Further, the paper to coating resin weight ratio in the core is in the range from 8:1 to 1:1.
  • Test Methods
  • The fiber volume fraction of the paper (volume of the paper structure occupied by fibers) is calculated by the equation:

  • Volume fraction of fibers (%)=100×(apparent density of the paper)×((weight fraction of fiber 1)/(density of fiber 1)+(weight fraction of fiber 2)/(density of fiber 2)+ . . . +(weight fraction of fiber n)/(density of fiber n)), where n is the total number of different fibers in the paper composition.
  • Paper apparent density is calculated using the paper thickness as measured by ASTM D374-99 and the basis weight as measured by ASTM D646-96. Fiber denier is measured using ASTM D1907-07.
  • The machine to cross direction ratio of tensile strength for the paper is defined by measuring paper tensile strength in the machine and cross directions in accordance with ASTM D828-97 and dividing the machine value by the cross direction value.
  • The arithmetic mean length and length average mean length of carbon fibers are determined by cutting single cell walls at their boundaries with the double walls, dissolving or decomposing the organic ingredients of the wall with sulfuric acid or other suitable liquid, depositing carbon fibers on glass or other suitable filter media and conducting microscopic analysis of carbon fiber length with a total count of measured carbon fibers being not less than 200. Only fibers with length of 0.01 mm or higher are counted. The arithmetic mean length is calculated based on the equation:

  • L (arithm.)=(N1×L1+N2×L2+ . . . )/((N1+N2+ . . . )
  • The length weighted mean length is calculated based on the equation:

  • L (length weighted)=(N1×L12 +N2×L22+ . . . )/((N1×L1+N2×L2+ . . . ),
  • where L1, L2 etc. are all measured lengths, and N1, N2, etc. is the number of fibers with a given length.
  • The aspect ratio of a carbon fiber cross-section is determined by measuring of largest (width) and smallest (height) dimensions of the fiber cross-section under a microscope and dividing the first number by the second number.
  • Modulus and tenacity of carbon fibers is measured in accordance with ASTM D 4018-99 for test specimens of continuous yarn or tow that have been resin impregnated and consolidated.
  • EXAMPLES Example 1
  • A paper comprising carbon floc, p-aramid floc, p-aramid pulp, and m-aramid fibrids is formed on conventional paper forming equipment. The composition of the paper is 40 weight percent carbon fiber floc, 15 weight percent p-aramid floc, 30 weight percent of p-aramid pulp, and 15 weight percent m-aramid fibrids.
  • The carbon floc has a nominal filament linear density of 0.70 dtex per filament (0.62 denier per filament), a cross sectional aspect ratio of 3:1, a cut length of 3.2 mm, a tenacity of 24.1 grams per dtex (1.92 N/tex), and an initial modulus of 1889 grams per dtex (150 N/tex).
  • The p-aramid floc has a nominal filament linear density of 1.7 dtex per filament (1.5 denier per filament), a cut length of 6.4 mm, a tenacity of 26.8 grams per dtex (2.13 N/tex), and initial modulus of 1044 grams per dtex (83 N/tex).
  • The p-aramid pulp is produced from the described p-aramid floc by high shear refining to a Canadian Standard Freeness (CSF) of about 180 ml. The meta-aramid fibrids are made as described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,756,908 to Gross.
  • The paper is calendered at 330° C. to produce a finished paper having a thickness of 48 micrometers, a basis weight of 40.7 g/m2 (1.2 oz/yd2), an apparent density of 0.85 g/cm3, a fiber volume fraction of 44% and a machine to cross directional tensile strength ratio of 1.1
  • A honeycomb is then formed from the calendered paper. Node lines of solvated adhesive are applied to the paper surface at a width of 2 mm and a pitch of 5 mm and the solvent removed.
  • The sheet with the adhesive node lines is cut into 500 mm lengths. A plurality of sheets are stacked one on top of the other, such that each of the sheets is shifted to the other by half a pitch or a half the interval of the applied adhesive node lines. The shift occurs alternately to one side or the other, so that the final stack is uniformly vertical. The width of the node line and the pitch offset is such that, on expansion, the cell size is 3.2 mm. The number of stacked sheets is then hot-pressed between plates at the softening point of the adhesive, causing the adhesive node lines to flow; once the heat is removed the adhesive hardens to bond the sheets together at the node lines. The bonded aramid sheets are then expanded in the direction counter to the stacking direction to form cells having an equilateral cross section. Each of the sheets are extended between each other such that the sheets are folded along the edges of the bonded node lines and the portions not bonded are extended in the direction of the tensile force to separate the sheets from each other.
  • The expanded honeycomb is then placed in a bath containing solvent-based MIL-R-9299C standard phenolic resin. The phenolic resin is used in a liquid form wherein the resin is dissolved in ethanol. The resin adheres to and coats the interior surface of the cell walls as well as penetrating into the pores of the paper. After impregnating with resin, the honeycomb is taken out from the bath and is dried in a drying oven by hot air to remove the solvent and cure the phenolic resin. The impregnation step in the resin bath and the drying step in the drying oven are repeated two more times.
  • The final core, after coating with resin, will have a density of 48 kg/m3 (3 lb/ft3) and a cell size of 3.2 mm (⅛ inch). The arithmetic mean length of carbon fibers in the cell wall is at least 0.5 mm and the length weighted mean length at least 0.9 mm.
  • Comparative Example A
  • A paper is made as in Example 1 but with carbon fiber having a circular cross section, that is, having a nominal aspect ratio of 1:1. The final paper will have a thickness of 48 micrometers, a basis weight of 40.7 g/m2 (1.2 oz/yd2), an apparent density of 0.85 g/cm3, a fiber volume fraction of 44% and a machine to cross directional tensile strength ratio of 1.1.
  • A honeycomb is made from this paper in the same manner as in Example 1. The final core, after coating with resin, will have a density of 48 kg/m3 (3 lb/ft3) and a cell size of 3.2 mm (⅛). The arithmetic mean length of carbon fibers in the cell wall is less than 0.5 mm and the length weighted mean length is less than 0.9 mm.
  • For the same cell size, the same final core density and the same resin content, the core of the current invention made from paper having carbon fiber of a non-circular cross section as per Example 1 has improved shear strength in comparison with other carbon fiber paper cores in which the carbon fibers have a substantially circular cross section as per Comparative Example A.
  • Example 2
  • Two prepreg facesheets are placed on either side of a 10 mm thick slice of honeycomb from Example 1. The prepreg is 8552 epoxy resin on G0803 style carbon fiber fabric available from Hexcel Corporation, Dublin, Calif. The resin content in the prepreg is 35%. A release layer is placed on both outer surfaces of the prepreg and the prepreg—honeycomb assembly cured in a press at 180° C. for 120 minutes to produce a sandwich panel.

Claims (15)

  1. 1. A honeycomb structure comprising a plurality of interconnected walls having surfaces that define a plurality of honeycomb cells, the cell walls being formed from a paper comprising 20-85 weight percent of carbon fiber wherein;
    (i) the paper has a fiber volume fraction of at least 35%,
    (ii) the carbon fiber has a fiber cross-section aspect ratio of at least 1.5:1,
    (iii) the carbon fiber has an arithmetic mean length of at least 0.5 mm, and
    (iv) the carbon fiber has a length weighted mean length of at least 0.9 mm.
  2. 2. A honeycomb structure according to claim 1 wherein the carbon fibers have a linear density in the range of from 0.1 to 3.0 dpf.
  3. 3. A honeycomb structure according to claim 1 wherein the arithmetic mean length of carbon fiber is at least 0.7 mm and the length weighted mean length is at least 1.2 mm.
  4. 4. A honeycomb structure according to claim 1 wherein all floc fibers in the paper composition have a fiber cross-section aspect ratio of at least 1.5:1.
  5. 5. A honeycomb structure according to claim 1 wherein, prior to impregnation with resin, the paper has a machine to cross direction tensile ratio no greater than 2.2.
  6. 6. A honeycomb structure according to claim 1 wherein the paper has a fiber volume fraction of at least 45%.
  7. 7. A honeycomb structure according to claim 1 wherein the paper is impregnated with resin selected from the group consisting of phenolic, polyimide, epoxy and combinations thereof.
  8. 8. A honeycomb structure according to claim 7 wherein the impregnated paper has a paper to resin weight ratio in the range of from 8:1 to 1:1.
  9. 9. A honeycomb structure according to claim 1 wherein the paper further comprises 7.5 to 50 weight percent of para-aramid fiber and 7.5 to 30 parts by weight percent of polymeric binder
  10. 10. A honeycomb structure according to claim 9 wherein the paper is impregnated with resin selected from the group consisting of phenolic, polyimide, epoxy and combinations thereof.
  11. 11. A honeycomb structure according to claim 10 wherein the impregnated paper has a paper to resin weight ratio in the range of from 8:1 to 1:1.
  12. 12. A structural sandwich panel comprising a resin impregnated honeycomb core having at least one facesheet attached to both exterior surfaces of the core wherein the cell walls of the core are formed from a paper comprising:
    (i) 20 to 85 weight percent of carbon fiber having a fiber cross-section aspect ratio of at least 1.5:1,
    (ii) 7.5 to 50 weight percent of para-aramid fiber, and
    (iii) 7.5 to 30 weight percent of polymeric binder, wherein:
    (a) the paper has a fiber volume fraction of at least 35%,
    (b) the carbon fiber has an arithmetic mean length of at least 0.5 mm, and
    (c) the carbon fiber has a length weighted mean length of at least 0.9 mm.
  13. 13. A sandwich panel according to claim 12 wherein the carbon fibers in the paper forming the core cell walls have a linear density in the range of from 0.1 to 3.0 dpf.
  14. 14. A sandwich panel according to claim 12 wherein all floc fibers in the paper forming the core cell walls have a cross-section aspect ratio of at least 1.5:1.
  15. 15. A sandwich panel according to claim 12 wherein the paper forming the core cell walls has, prior to impregnation with resin, a machine to cross direction tensile ratio no greater than 2.2.
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US20150273789A1 (en) * 2012-11-21 2015-10-01 Diehl Aircabin Gmbh Panel and method for producing a panel
EP2914395A4 (en) * 2012-11-05 2016-08-03 Gordon Holdings Inc High strength, light weight composite structure, method of manufacture and use thereof
US20160347024A1 (en) * 2015-05-26 2016-12-01 Carcoustics Techconsult Gmbh Material composition for the production of a stiffening member for lightweight construction, method for producing a stiffening member for lightweight construction and stiffening member for lightweight construction
US20170087797A1 (en) * 2014-06-19 2017-03-30 Imballaggi Protettivi S.R.L. Honeycomb sandwich sheet or panel, based on thermoplastic polypropylene
WO2017065896A1 (en) 2015-10-16 2017-04-20 Hexcel Corporation Fire retarded aramid fiber-based honeycomb

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US9434142B2 (en) 2012-01-26 2016-09-06 E I Du Pont De Nemours And Company Method of making a sandwich panel
KR20160003276A (en) * 2013-05-03 2016-01-08 데이진 아라미드 게엠베하 Process to manufacture a mixture of p-aramid pulp with chopped fibers, mixture and its use
CN103737988A (en) * 2014-01-06 2014-04-23 苏州芳磊蜂窝复合材料有限公司 Honeycomb core based on carbon fibre paper and preparation method for same
US9976258B2 (en) 2014-10-03 2018-05-22 E I Du Pont De Nemours And Company Honeycomb core having a high compression strength
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EP2914395A4 (en) * 2012-11-05 2016-08-03 Gordon Holdings Inc High strength, light weight composite structure, method of manufacture and use thereof
US20150273789A1 (en) * 2012-11-21 2015-10-01 Diehl Aircabin Gmbh Panel and method for producing a panel
US20170087797A1 (en) * 2014-06-19 2017-03-30 Imballaggi Protettivi S.R.L. Honeycomb sandwich sheet or panel, based on thermoplastic polypropylene
US20160347024A1 (en) * 2015-05-26 2016-12-01 Carcoustics Techconsult Gmbh Material composition for the production of a stiffening member for lightweight construction, method for producing a stiffening member for lightweight construction and stiffening member for lightweight construction
WO2017065896A1 (en) 2015-10-16 2017-04-20 Hexcel Corporation Fire retarded aramid fiber-based honeycomb

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